This ministry dedicates itself to preserving family bonds during the Christmas holiday by providing gifts to the children of incarcerated parents. The gifts are donated by the Congregation.
Volunteers sort out the gift donations and distribute the gifts to the children.
This ministry collects blood donations at least twice a year. The Ministry partners with New York City Blood Services for professional and technical support. The nurses and the support volunteers come from the congregation. The blood drives are usually held on Saturday mornings.
Volunteers register participants, perform various clerical functions, and assist the technical personnel administer the screening tests.
The Education Ministry focuses on preparing students from kindergarten to high school for grade exams and preparatory exams to enter college. It also provides information to parents to enhance their ability to assist and guide their children as they prepare for exams and college applications.
Due to cut backs in funding, this ministry established a system of registration to ensure compliance with income eligibility guidelines. According to the guidelines, participants cannot fall above the 185% of the poverty level established by federal guidelines. To date very few persons seeking assistance are turned away. As mentioned elsewhere, the current economic conditions have caused an increase in the number of participants, including seniors and Hispanic patrons. One benefIt of the registration process consists of the opportunity to obtain greater and more accurate statistical data on patron usage. More than 4,321 patrons were served by our pantry this year with a total distribution of almost 25,000 meals. Volunteers come from the membership, community programs, colleges and high schools.
The volunteers prepare the food bags and help with the distribution of the bags.
The Healthy Get Fit Club offers aerobics and step classes on Saturdays at 8:00 – 9:00 p.m. in our gym. The class is run by one of my members. Members and non-members are welcomed to participate.
The Mission Team consists of a group of dedicated volunteers bringing the love of Christ to the greater world community through acts of service, such as participation in Habitat for Humanity, among other projects.
Volunteers may be required to travel outside the state.
It is undisputed that the current economic conditions, including high unemployment, have
caused an increase in the number of individuals seeking support from soup kitchens and similar programs. As a result the number of people served in our Soup Kitchen Ministry has also increased. In spite of the increased in need and the decrease in economic resources, the Soup Kitchen Ministry, continues to demonstrate excellence in providing meals to needy persons. The outreach segment of the ministry continues to attract members and many non-member volunteers from the local community including community colleges, high schools and those referred by the court system for community service restitution.
The soup kitchen also feeds all of the volunteers participating in the national program Youth Works, housed in our church campus and which averages approximately 60-75 students each week. During the year, the Soup Kitchen ministry provides holiday dinners to its paI1icipants, including Christmas, Easter, and a July 4 picnic. The Holiday meals provide an opportunity for its participants to have a meal in Christian fellowship during a time when the participants would otherwise go hungry and alone. The Soup Kitchen ministry serves over 125 people a week and over 200 people during each of the holiday meals. In summary, approximately 5,260 patrons receive approximately 6,556 meals during the year.
The volunteers cook, serve, and perform clean up after the meals are served.
This ministry reaches out annually to men in the larger Queens community to provide prostate cancer screening. This Ministry recently celebrated eight years of service. During that time more than 1800 men were tested. In addition, the Ministry was expanded to offer health screening to women on a variety of issues, including diabetes, high blood pressure, and women related issues. The Ministry partners with various health organizations including New York Presbyterian Hospital. The Ministry holds its annual event on a Saturday during early spring.
Volunteers register participants, perform various clerical functions, and assist the technical personnel administer the screening tests.
This ministry focuses on providing the opportunity to participate in the worship of our Lord and Savior in all its aspects to imprisoned men and women. The worship includes music, sermons, prayer, and praise dance.
Volunteers visit prisons and conduct all aspects of the worship service.
This Ministry concentrates on helping our members and our community neighbors to enjoy their senior years by providing information on available senior resources such as Social Security and Medicare benefits, and similar benefits; senior service community groups. It provides a bridge with community groups by developing relationships with and working with such groups as EQUAL. It also provides access to tools such as the Five Wishes Assessment (wills, health proxies, etc.) and the BenefitCheckUp Web service. The Senior Adult Ministry also seeks to build inter-generational relationships within the membership of our church by connecting seniors with younger adults in the congregations through various activities throughout the year.
Volunteers may be asked to assist senior adults during interface with various community agencies.
In partnership with the Jamaica YMCA, this ministry offers our Congregation and community at large teens the opportunity to join other teens for uplifting fun time such as discussions of relevant and exciting topics, take adventurous trips, tutoring/homework help, yummy snacks and to get involved in community service. The Teen Center encourages teens to express themselves through their various gifts and talents while developing their character and strengths. The program also provides preparation for college careers. We expect participating teens to feel empowered to succeed in all areas of life.
This annual Christmas ministry reaches to patrons of the Soup Kitchen by providing gifts of essential items such as gloves, scarves, hats, and undergarments during the Christmas holiday. The gifts are donated by the Congregation.
Volunteers sort out the gift donations and distribute the gifts to the patrons.
This Ministry provides greeters and ushers who server during worship and other times as
needed. The Ambassadors receive training on their mission and function and are given specific tasks to perform to greet and to make our visitors feel welcomed before, during, and after worship. The Ambassadors are also responsible for quieting the sanctuary before the worship service to allow worshipers to prepare for worship. Ambassadors also serve during the collection of Tithes and Offering.
Ambassadors serve on Sundays and special days of worship, as well as specific occasions such as funeral services when needed.
This ongoing ministry consists of a small group of women who send out cards to members on their birthdays as a way of keeping in touch and reaching out to all. Volunteers personalize and send out birthday cards to members and frequent attenders.
This ministry has two components: The Communications Team and the Media Team.
The Communications Team publishes a monthly newsletter containing a variety of items of interest to the congregation and to the community. The Newsletter contains articles and community news, as well as and games written for and by children. It is staffed by member volunteers and published internally and is distributed on the first Sunday of the month. The Newsletter serves to keep members up to date on events and accomplishments in the congregation.
Volunteers write articles and assist with setting up and printing the newsletter.
The Media Team
The Media Team provides visual and audio media support during the Sunday worship services and other special occasions as requested. It is composed of volunteer members. The services of the Media Team have contributed to bringing the worship services up to the modem electronic age and have enhanced the ability of worshipers to participate in the service by projecting scripture text and the text of songs on a large screen throughout the service.
Team provide copies of the recorded worship services.
Volunteers operate a variety of technical audio and visual equipment.
The Scholarship Ministry focuses on supporting the youth of First Jamaica as they prepare, apply, and enter college through a variety of programs such as a monetary scholarship, continuing contact when the students are away at school and training and assistance in preparing college applications. The Scholarship Committee sponsors three principal activities during the year: (I) the distribution and evaluation of Scholarship applications, an Annual Scholarship Award Dance and Raffle, and the promotion of donations by the congregation’s families during Scholarship month.
The Bereavement Ministry serves members and non-members in our congregation family, as well members of our community. When we hear the word bereavement, we think principally of death. However the Bereavement Ministry of First church is here to help anyone who has lost someone or something close to their heart. The loss of someone to death, the loss of hope, the breakup of a marriage, the loss of a job, the loss of a relationship or even the loss of control of a child can be devastating. The death of a loved one can up root the routine of home and family life. We are there to give spiritual and hands to support. Whatever the loss, the Bereavement Ministry provides spiritual and hands on help. For example, it provides ● a package of resource materials that will be helpful in making funeral arrangements ● members accompany the family to the funeral home to assist them with arrangements, etc. ● If necessary, they will keep an eye on the home while the family is away ● it helps out in answering phone calls ● and when available, we will provide transportation for shopping and running errands ● During the viewing and funeral services, they assist in keeping order and making sure the family’s needs are met. If there is a repast, the Bereavement Team attends and assists in whatever is needed. They also accompany the family to burial services. After the funeral, they keep in touch via phone calls, visits, written notes or whatever it takes to walk with the family during their grieving journey.
The Bereavement Team members receive training and are asked to be available when the need arises.
The We Care Callers & Keep in Touch Ministry seeks to create a caring and loving community by action rather than mere words. The We Care Callers keep in touch with an assigned number of members by calling each person on an assigned list and by greeting the members assigned during Sunday worship. By keeping in touch with each one of our members and letting them know that we care about each and every one of us, we are witnessing to the power and the love of our Lord and Savior. The Ministry supports our clergy by keeping them up to date about the significant events in the life of our members.
Volunteers are assigned up to 20 members and are expected to make two to three calls each week until each person on the list received a call.
The Visiting Ministry supports the pastoral care of our congregation by making home, hospital, and nursing home visits and by providing spiritual care to the sick and those needing prayer in moments of need. Visiting and caring for the sick and those in need of prayer and spiritual support is not only necessary but of absolute importance in the life of our congregation as a caring community. Such visits also contribute to the spiritual growth of the visitor. The Visiting Ministry supplements but does not substitute the pastoral and spiritual care currently being provided to our members, frequent attenders and visitors by our Clergy, the Elders and the Deacons.
The Fellowship Hour provides an opportunity after each Sunday worship service for members to greet guests and for visitors, guests and new members to visit with current members and to learn about the various Church ministries and services offered. The food is sponsored by a different ministry each week. A calendar is drawn in advance to indicate which ministry is serving on any particular Sunday.
Volunteers help out with cooking, serving, and clean up. Volunteers are also needed to greet and fellowship with visitors and guests.
The Fellowship Caring Circles Ministry focuses on providing the opportunity for members and their guests to experience more personalized and more intimate fellowship and care. The Caring Circles are usually led by an Elder or a Deacon and are held in member homes or intimate spaces throughout the church campus. The general format of a Caring Circle meeting is to welcome new members, have an ice-breaker activity, opening prayer, receive contact reports from those members experiencing special problems (illness, suffered a loss, or in some particular need), and to give praise by testimonies, singing, sharing of concerns and prayers answered, followed by Bible study and prayers. Meetings usually last between sixty to ninety minutes. The Fellowship Caring Circles are provided study materials that coincide with particular sermon series but they may also choose their own study with theapproval of the Pastoral staff. Under the purpose driven church concept, the Fellowship Caring Circles have also been charged with reaching out to non-members to participate.
This ministry is the counterpart of the Presbyterian Women. It encourages Presbyterian men and guests to play a greater and more meaningful role in the life of First Jamaica. The group generally meets on Saturdays during which time the group has sponsored several successful presentations by guest speakers. Their meetings are open to members and non-members.
The book of the month selection is chosen in conjunction with the Pastor and is often used to support a particular sermon theme. The club, which meets every third Sunday of each month after worship, provides fellowship and social interaction for participating members of the club.
The Pioneer’s Ministry is devoted to preparing a way through service to the congregation and the community. It is open to all members and non-members of First Church. It meets the third Sunday of the month in Magill Hall Library after the 1 0:00am worship service. This past year, the Pioneers Ministry sponsored a New Year’s Eve Dinner Dance with the purpose of furthering fellowship outside regular Night Watch Service and to fortify and strengthen bonds between church family members. The proceeds of the event were donated to the Tree of Life.
The Presbyterian Women Ministry has the purpose of nurturing our faith through prayer and Bible study; supporting the mission of the church worldwide, working for justice and peace, and building an inclusive, caring community of women that strengthens the Presbyterian Church, and witnesses to the promise of God’s kingdom. Membership and participation in Presbyterian Women of First Church activities and programs are open to all women members and visitors. The group meets every second Sunday of the month. The Presbyterian Women activities also include an Annual Retreat, Annual Prayers Breakfast, Annual Fellowship Luncheon, worldwide missions and special events celebrating women.
The Scouts program focuses on teaching boys and girls how to develop lasting relationships, skills and Christian values, and to prepare them for the role and responsibilities of adulthood. The program is open to members and non-members.
The Marriage Ministry focuses on actively fostering a nurturing community that encourages the development and renewal of Christ-centered marriages. Its goals are ● To help strengthen the covenant of marriage through God’s Word, in both existing marriages and to help those who are about to enter into marriage; ● To reveal God’s plan by teaching couples who are married but are not living in God’s perfect plan for marriage how to rebuild their marriage upon a God-centered foundation ● To teach married couples what the Scriptures says concerning Christian marriage ● To help marriage partners individually and as a couple to come to a personal, saving knowledge of and trust in Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord, “teaching them to observe all things” that Christ commanded ● To provide tools that aim to establish better marital and family communications ● To build stronger relationships and create an atmosphere where couples can come together and strengthen their marriages through fellowship, worship, pray and friendship ● To provide tools to couples and families for improving their relationship with each other and with God in Christ Jesus ● To build a strong relationship with other church members. Couples will be taught to encourage each other, and to help each other find and participate in activities they enjoy, like adult faith formation classes, support groups, retreats, and mentoring for couples who are experiencing difficulties in their marriage ● To encourage couples to work with each other in order to build stronger marriages within their community ● To encourage couples with children to teach their children by example what constitutes a healthy marriage.
The participants in the Marriage Ministry conduct and participate in community and inter-church outreach, workshops, trips and retreats, date and movie nights, and other similar events.
The FPCJ Dance Ministry is comprised of The Flowing Psalms, The Sons of David and God’s Creation. These ministries are comprised entirely of volunteer members who meet every week to practice and pray. The Flowing Psalms offer their dancing praise during both worship services and often travel with the Pastors to support their sermons at other churches. They are highly appreciated by the congregation and add to the moving and spiritual atmosphere during worship services.
Volunteers serve as dancers, choreographers, costume design and preparation, and similar
tasks required for the presentation of the dance ministry.
The Choir is committed to developing a spirit of worship and is dedicated to singing the praises of God and leading the people in worship. The choir is composed entire of volunteers under the direction and administration of the Music Minister, Chad Franklin. Choir members must be faithful in their timely attendance at rehearsals and worship services.
Volunteer interested should contact Brother Chad, our Minister of Music, to arrange for an audition. Volunteers may be required to perform at other churches and to sing at specials events and funerals at First Church.
The Prayer Team consists of a number of individuals who meet regularly (in person, by
telephone, or by mail) to pray for the congregation, the pastoral staff, and in response to
prayer petitions. The Prayer Team consists of four components. The Prayer Warriors The Prayer Team consists of four components. The Prayer Warriors Team individual member serves on one or more of these components. The four
components include the following in no particular order:
Altar Servers. The Altar Servers pray for and with the individuals who answer the Altar call during Worship Services on Sundays or other designated times.
Phone Tree Servers. The Phone Tree Servers pray over the phone with and for the homebound and the sick and upon special requests.
Armor bearers. The Armor bearers have the specific purpose of praying for Rev. O’Connor in general and upon his request and petition. The names of the Team members of this component will not be generally known to other team members or the general congregation. The sole reasons for this special procedure consist of the need to create and maintain the confidentiality of Rev. O’Connor and to shield the team members and Rev. O’Connor from any potential misuse of the process by others outside the Team.
The Greater Prayer Team. The entire Prayer Team has the purpose of praying for those who make prayer petitions on Sundays and at any time, pray for each other, pray for the congregation, pray for the needs of First Church and the Presbyterian Church and our greater community, and for any other worthy reason such as peace, the hungry, the homeless, and the poor. They will also specifically pray for our clergy and our staff.
Adult Bible Classes are conducted by Elders on Sundays from 9.00 A.M. to 9:45 A.M., and on Wednesday evenings at 7:00 P.M. All classes run from September to June each year.
All people in the Body of Christ are called to minister to one another and to bear one another’s burdens. Yet we also recognize that not everyone will be gifted in the same area of ministry. The Lay Institute was started in 2010 and is designed to enable Christians to live meaningful lives of service. This ministry is a seven-module nine-month course of experiential learning in which students discover how best to use their God-given gifts and talents to help grow God’s Kingdom. Presently the seven learning modules are Program Introduction, What is Ministry, Spiritual Formation, The Bible, Church History and Doctrine, Preaching, Pastoral Care, Church Administration and Mission/Outreach.
During this nine-month course, participants work on spiritual maturity, personal self-awareness and an understanding of what being a lay minister entails. They also develop a lay ministry project. This course is step one for members interested in becoming a First Church lay minister.
At the end of the course, should students choose to go on for further theological training, they will receive graduate study credit from our accreditation partner, Anderson School of Theology, which will be accepted by any seminary in the country. The Lay Institute is included in Anderson’s Masters
Students may enroll for individual modules as well as the entire course. The cost for the entire course is $200 for FPCJ members. Cost per module varies with the module.
“They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” (Acts 2:42)
The LOGOS Academy is a ministry designed to help churches in the NYC area to receive training and customized coaching in the LOGOS method of intergenerational family ministry. Using Acts 2:42 as its template, the LOGOS model of intergenerational ministry has stimulated lay participation and resulted in spiritual and numerical growth in churches of all races, classes, locations and denominations. We believe that planting LOGOS programs will result in church growth similar to that experienced by First Church since it began LOGOS in 2011.
In LOGOS children, youth and adults eat together, play together, study together and learn how to worship God together. Each participant learns that everyone has something to share with everyone else.
By participating first as a small group through a series of initial assessment/capacity workshops, theory and practice trainings then individually in customized one-on-one consultations, the lay leader teams of the participating churches will strengthen leadership skills, fellowship and spiritual bonds, and will define and act on stated ministry and mission goals.
LOGOS is a weekly ministry composed of four parts that are integrated within a nurturing environment of Christian relationships. The four parts of the LOGOS weekly ministry consists of the following: (i) Bible study; (ii) Worship skills such as singing, prayer, movement and dance; (iii) Interactive family recreation and play; and (iv) Family time that incorporates intergenerational celebration over a shared meal where adults of all ages and the youth experience being part of the family of God.
The LOGOS Ministry is a program the vision of which is to nurture children, youth, and their families into a lifetime of Christian discipleship. The core values of the program consists of the following: · a saving relationship with God though Jesus Christ; · living with God as the center and focus of everything we do and following the Bible as our guide and standard; ·developing and nurturing Christian relationships that in turn nurture individuals into faith and discipleship; · partnering with the Body of Christ as an essential part of nurturing; · studying and practicing the ministry of the early church as originated from Acts 2:42-47; · serving and being accountable as stewards of the gifts God has entrusted to us in time, talent, and treasure, as well as affirming God’s call to us as individuals; ·equipping adults to do ministry by providing training, resource materials and on-going relational support.
Volunteers participate in planning, promotion, recruitment and training of additional volunteers, and the actual delivery of the program, including shopping, cooking, serving, leading Bible study, leading and supervising games and similar activities, and serving as table parents during meals.
New Member classes are run by a team under the supervision and guidance of Commissioned Ruling Elder Sandy-Lane. The classes generally start on the first Sunday of the month and require multiple sessions. Classes may be scheduled to accommodate the needs of those interested when necessary. Members are generally received by Session on the Third Sunday of the Month.
Individuals receiving the Call to become members should visit the New Member Class Table after worship service or contact Commissioned Ruling Elder Sandy-Lane.
Sunday School provides an age appropriate understanding of who God is to enable them in God’s timing to be drawn to a personal relationship with Jesus. Sunday School classes are offered to Kindergarten, Grades 1 & 2, 3 & 4, 5 & 6, Junior and Senior High students with an average roll of 40- 50 children. These classes meet each Sunday from 9:00 A.M. to 11: A.M. from September to June of each year. The program is supervised by a Superintendent and a volunteer staff, who meet regularly to discuss concerns and problems as well as the curriculum approved by Rev. Aqueelah Ligonde.
Volunteers serve as Bible Study teachers and chaperons for the children. They may also prepare a light breakfast for participating teachers and students.